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Thread: Boyfriend new C3 injury from Tornado

  1. #1

    Boyfriend new C3 injury from Tornado

    My family home was hit by a tornado on April 16,2011. My back was broken at the T7 and T8 and I am in a TLSO brace but doing well. My boyfriend on the other hand was crushed by the house and has a C3 injury. He is currently in a specialty hospital about 3 hours away from where we lived. The local hospital had done all they could for acute care. He has been so depressed and I don't know what to do to help him. He has been gone for a week and I have gone to see him twice but he seems to have given up. He keeps asking me "Why do you want me I'm paralyzed". I tell him that I love him the same as before the injury but he doesn't seem to believe that. I know this is still new and we both have to adjust. He can move his head and shoulders and the hospital is working on getting him off the vent. What are the chances that he may recover some movement in at least his hands? I think he would deal with it better as he has always been a very independent person and not being able to do anything for himself is driving him crazy.

  2. #2
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    it is may be too soon to see if he has a complete injury. it takes some time for spinal shock to wear off, and after it does sometimes people with complete injuries are found to be incomplete. its impossible to say the chances or extent of his recovery though, you have no choice but to wait and see.

    very sorry for what you both are suffering. this is a good place to be if you have an sci, so welcome to care cure.


    sorry you had to find this place.

  3. #3
    Hi Max, I was injured by a tornado, too. We were camping last July and a tornado pulled up a tree and dropped it on our tent. I have an L1 and L5 injury and have been recovering ever since.

    Both you and your boyfriend are very early into recovery, as far as SCI goes. It will be awhile before you have a good idea of how well you might expect to recover. A positive attitude goes a long way. What happened to you is pretty dramatic and going from healthy to injured probably took the blink of an eye. There is emotional healing that needs to take place, as well as physical. I'm sure that many who are members here can relate to your boyfriend's depression. A lot has changed for him in a very short time.

    There are many inspiring stories in this forum and many encouraging folks who know your situation very well. Reach out, as you have and you will receive much support.

    Keep pointed toward the positive and work hard at your physical therapy and you will give yourself the best possible chance of recovery.

    My heart goes out to you.

  4. #4
    i'm sorry to say but hands are the last thing that a quad gets back
    C5/C6 Complete since 08/22/09

  5. #5
    I'm very sorry to hear this and not much to add to what the others have said. It is too soon to know.
    My husband is C3 complete since Oct 2008.
    Unfortunately he only has a weak shoulder shrug. We desperately hoped he would be able to use his hands as he was a fixer and a fisherman.

  6. #6
    When you say he is at a "specialty hospital", is this a Model System SCI Center? Do you mind sharing with us where he is?

    The responses you have above are very accurate. It is much too early to tell if and when he will get any return. The best you can do at this point is to stick with him. Visit as much as you can. Don't let him put you off or tell you to leave him. If your relationship is solid, it can survive this, but it will not be easy. Reassure him that you love him for who he is, which is not just his physicality, but his personality, humor, etc. etc. He is testing you. He is also feeling worthless, and if he drives you away, it will only confirm his feelings of low self esteem. If he is in the right place for rehabilitation, he needs to take advantage of the full program, including counseling, therapeutic recreation, and the opportunity to learn from others with SCI who have been there before him. This is critical. He may be inclined to refuse therapy, esp. counseling. This will only be to his detriment. Seize the opportunity to do some couples counseling with him if that is available as well.

    Take care of yourself too. You have also sustained and injury, and stress and lack of rest can adversely effect your healing.

    Please come back and ask any questions, and get him on-line to us as soon as possible as well.

    (KLD)

  7. #7
    We are so lucky to have you KLD.

  8. #8
    Talk to him about anything but his injury. Friends, sports, politics, food, music, cars, weather, books.
    Not remeber when we use to do this or that, just now stuff.
    A priest taught me this. I'm not religious and not catholic. He came in my room at the hospital and ask what was wrong with me. I told him. He said: "that sucks" and then sat down and shot the breeze about baseball. Every day he would come in and just shoot the breeze about sports, etc. I looked forward to that. He was the only one that didn't pity me, judge me or treat me weird.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JEAPOW's Avatar
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    So sorry to hear of such an accident, you have found a very good forum with tons of information and alot of people with compassion, kindness and will be there for you. You are dealing with alot right now and like others have said it is very early to know alot of things. It is the hardest fight of your life for you and for your boyfriend. Being on a ventilator must be so scarey for him and he is probably depressed and even may feel like he has no life left. Just keep lettimg him know how much you love him, and even though things have been turned upside down you two can get thru this.

    My family was told I was paralyzed, but after the surgery I slowly started to get better. I was in auto accident, my son in law was driving and still feels guilty. I am almost 7 mo post and although in alot of pain, I am walking like you was in the same shell for 2 1/2 mo, so uncomfortable, but necessary. My walk is not pretty and I still have along way to go, but you also can do the same.

    So sorry you and BF have to deal with this. Just know there are brighter days ahead.
    JeAnNE L1Burst Fracture inc. 11/5/10

    Live Well--Laugh often

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Max6318 View Post
    My family home was hit by a tornado on April 16,2011. My back was broken at the T7 and T8 and I am in a TLSO brace but doing well. My boyfriend on the other hand was crushed by the house and has a C3 injury. He is currently in a specialty hospital about 3 hours away from where we lived. The local hospital had done all they could for acute care. He has been so depressed and I don't know what to do to help him. He has been gone for a week and I have gone to see him twice but he seems to have given up. He keeps asking me "Why do you want me I'm paralyzed". I tell him that I love him the same as before the injury but he doesn't seem to believe that. I know this is still new and we both have to adjust. He can move his head and shoulders and the hospital is working on getting him off the vent. What are the chances that he may recover some movement in at least his hands? I think he would deal with it better as he has always been a very independent person and not being able to do anything for himself is driving him crazy.
    Max6318, I am so sorry to hear about both of your injuries. I have been doing spinal cord injury research for over 30 years. During the period, I have seen and talked to many people with spinal cord injury, some of whom have given up. What I have learned is that it is best to focus on the near future rather than the distance future, which we cannot predict nor control.

    For your boyfriend, he needs to know that some recovery is not only possible but likely after spinal cord injury. If he has a C3 injury, he has much work and recovery ahead of him.

    • Respiration (C3). For example, I assume that he is on a ventilator. If so, his first goal is to get off the ventilator. Fortunately, the phrenic nucleus (which is located at C3) is very plastic and many people are able to wean off the ventilator even after months or years. There are alternative approaches such as phrenic nerve pacing or diaphragm stimulation.
    • Deltoids (C4). The deltoid muscles are in the should and allow the upper arm to be lifted. Many people with C3 injuries should recover these.
    • Biceps (C5). These muscles of course flex the elbow. They are very important because a person with control of biceps should also get back the brachioradialis muscle and be able to control a joystick with his hand. This is much better than doing sip & puff or chin-joystick.
    • Wrist extensor (C6). This allow him to straighten out his wrist. Most people with C6 are able to type on a keyboard.
    • Triceps (C7). This allows him to extend and lock his elbow. People who have triceps can transfer. I have many friends who are quite independent with C7.

    He should keep a diary of his progress. The fact that you are able to communicate with him tells me that he is either off the ventilator or has learned to use a valve to speak. If he is able to shrug his shoulders and move his upper arm, this means that he has gotten a C4 back. It is best to focus on the achievable and be able to take pride in the progress that he has made. You may want to see an interview of Brooke Ellison who has a C1-2 injury http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=155586

    Wise.

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